3 March 2016


(1) It has been suggested to me that my use of colours is offensive to the eye. This usage arises from my own temptation to speed-read other people's blogs, and my lazy feeling that, when they're a bit long and involved, it would help me to have the crucial bits highlighted. Views?

(2) March 1, Fr Zed gives a quite brilliant, totally hilarious, recording of the retiring Archbishop of Malines speaking Latin with the various European accents, as he experienced them when he was taught in Latin as a seminarian. Includes mimicry of Bernard Lonergan. LATINISTS SHOULD NOT MISS the bit at the end, a parody of the old Cautelae  in the Missal ... if a mus runs off with a host, the sacerdos must chase and catch and trucidare occidere necare strangulare the murem and eum urere et cineres in sacrarium mittere. Si autem a Host falls down the front of a woman's clothing, the priest must chase and catch her, but he must on no account trucidare occidere necare strangulare her ....... Quite right that the Holy Father accepted the Archbishop's resignation with such commendable promptness when he reached the age limit. Humour is dead contrary to the Spirit of Vatican II. As any fule kno. Our Holy Father, quite rightly, does not encourage us to dissipate our energies in frivolity. Heaven forbid that this ultra-loyal blog should ever let him down.

 (3) I think I heard yesterday some woman called Libby Purves, on the Home Service, utter the phrase "the clammy hand of Irish Catholicism was on her shoulder".

"The clammy hand of Pakistani Islam was on her shoulder".
"The clammy hand of Tibetan Buddhism was on his shoulder".
"The clammy hand of Hampstead Agnosticism was on her shoulder".
"The clammy hand of Grauniad Liberalism was on his shoulder".
"The clammy hand of pacifist Quakerism was on her shoulder."
"The clammy hand of Media Homosexualism was on his shoulder".
"The clammy hand of the Russian ghettoes was on her shoulder".
"The clammy hand of a dim BBC chat-show hostess who had come to hate the Catholicism in which she was brought up was on his shoulder". 

I wonder how many of these delightfully flippant formulae would be considered acceptable as obiter dicta on the modern Beeb. Or is there now just one single 'identity' which all Sensible People can join in slagging off to their hearts' content?

If so, then, in the modern fashion, I proclaim Je suis Irish Catholic.


√Čamonn said...

Is Caitliceach √Čireanach mise!!

daldred said...

I wouldn't call your use of colours offensive, but it doesn't necessarily have the effect you intend.

For the significant number of men who (like me) have the most frequent colour anomalies in their vision, red-on-white is less readable than black-on-white - so when you make text red, you de-emphasise it, rather than making it more obvious.

Using the correct HTML tags also means that your text is accessible to screen readers for the blind. That's why web standards say that more strongly emphasised text should be in the same colour, but differentiated by font weight (so bolder).

So it's more courteous to your readers with any sort of visual limitation to avoid using colour alone as a means of emphasis.

Richard P said...

Dear Father:
To point 1, there is nothing at all wrong with your use of colour.
To point 3, Bravo for the comparisons!

mark wauck said...

" It has been suggested to me that my use of colours is offensive to the eye."

"Offensive" isn't quite the right word--or at least not from my perspective. I find your use of multiple colors distracting and not terribly helpful to the reader, since there doesn't appear to be any color-coding involved. Simple bolding and italics would be sufficient, but ...

Your use of the Trebuchet font isn't helpful in that regard. For reasons that font designers might be able to explain, bolding and italics don't seem to stand out in Trebuchet--those forms of emphasis are harder to pick up, which is defeating the whole purpose of using those styles. A font more along the lines of, say, Verdana might remedy that and prove more user/reader friendly.

Hyperlinks to referenced materials that are available on the internet would also be greatly appreciated by your readers, I'm quite sure. Or even simply the titles of sources, beyond the names of the authors. For example, you recently cited some work by Ratzinger from the late 90s--you provided the exact year. Why not the title? I could go look up a Ratzinger bibliography and then check whether the work in question in online, but with prolific authors I might have to sort through more than one work. Providing just the title would be helpful to your readers, save them time, etc.

mark wauck said...

The ref to Fr. Z's Blog is a perfect example of why hyperlinks would be a welcome courtesy to readers. I wasted a good 5 minutes devising searches before actually coming up with the relevant post.

Andreas Meszaros said...

Since I am the one who mentioned the colors, let me just say this: certain colors are truly challenging for the eyesight, but it is not a big deal. I highlight the entire text and copy it to my word processor where I can read it black on white with a nice large font. Nulla difficultas.

I like that the website is easy to load, simple, no gimmicks, no technical distractions.

GOR said...

I’m sure the use of colours has a long history with your good self, Father, given your academic background. As a student I too employed color for emphasis, though back then it was confined to underlining more amanuensis (highlighters not having been born as yet – much less PCs, Word Processors or Mssrs. Gates and Jobs).

Like the proverbial “kid in a candy store” once writing became automated and colors proliferated I made copious use of them in my work. My boss at the time (of an antediluvian bent) was less than impressed, feeling that plain speech should prevail in writing as well as in word. Thus were blunted my efforts at creativity. I never recovered.

So, have at it Father and the devil take the hindmost!

Pax--Tecum said...

Reverend Father, your use of colour doesn't distract me at all. E contrario vero, most of the time it's very useful, because it makes the important bits stand out. Ex his autem quae dicta sunt, one cannot conclude that the other bits are unimportant!

Kim Andrew D'Souza said...

Here is the post in question: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2016/03/fun-with-latin-with-archbp-leonard/ As a priest currently studying in Rome, this really is the funniest thing I've heard in ages!

Lepanto said...

Ms Purves once complained that the nuns in the South African convent school she attended 'USED TO HIT US!' (Her capitals). Corporal punishment was commonly suffered by almost all of us of her vintage. Clearly the nuns (bless them) just didn't hit her hard enough.

Jane said...

moi aussi

Highland Cathedral said...

As far as the BBC is concerned it is totally acceptable to them that one of their presenters once said that the words 'priest' and 'paedophile' are almost synonymous. And it also seems to be okay for Billy Connolly to state that PRIEST stands for Paedophile Resident in Every Small Town. (That's included in the Daily Telegraph's Billy Connolly: 34 Great Quotes.) If he made the same kind of comments about Moslems that he makes about Catholics he would be permanently banned from all the mainstream media.

Michael Leahy said...

Je suis Irish Catholic aussi.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear David

Thank you for that. What about the colour blue?

William said...

Like David Aldred, my colour vision is somewhat impaired, but I don't find your use of colour in the least problematic – though it's not always obvious how useful it is, as it does not appear to be systematic (unlike, say, Fr Z's conventions for fisking.)

My bigger whinge, as raised by others, is the lack of hyperlinking. It does make your most excellent blog, which I follow assiduously every day, less useful than it could be – and sometimes quite frustrating! While I would very happily show you how it is done using HTML, I would expect that your blog software provides even more pain-free ways of doing it, which I'm quite sure you could master with ease, no matter how "technophobe" you think you are.

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Fr,

Je ne suis pas Irish Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr,
Please don't follow the well-meaning advice to introduce "hyperlinks" into your idiosyncratic coloured texts. It will make things too easy: as it is we readers have to go off and do some homework and end up with a good deal of context and knowledge of the authors and documents you quote (without links) that we would be too lazy to do if you directed us to a source at the click of a button.

Banshee said...

Whenever I've heard someone talk about feeling the dead hand on their shoulder, it was of a specific dead person. And it meant that the speaker felt guilty about failure or sin.

So she knows and admits she is wrong, even as she complains.